I've enjoyed watching lovely hula on youtube, and I've noticed a few things about the Miss Aloha part of the Merrie Monarch competition. Miss Aloha is basically solo hula, the contestants do both the ancient kahiko and the westernized 'auana hula forms. Kahiko involves perfect chant in Hawaiian, and traditional dress--modified by bloomers under the full skirts and tank tops instead of near naked like some of the kane or male kahiko hula. How "traditional" will some go?
The winners of Miss Aloha for the last three or four years have not been the thinnest among the dancers, in fact among the runners up, they are actually the biggest women. All of the women have been practicing hula since they were small children or nearly all their lives. All of the women display amazing grace and presence. But it is the larger women that seem to possess a quality of strength missing among the smaller competitors. They included a lot of steps that display their power, that gives one goosepimples (Hawaiians call it "chicken skin") as they move across the stage.
When missionaries came to Hawaii, they discouraged hula for some good reasons among the Hawaiians that received the Good News of Jesus. But they misunderstood the importance of dance in Hawaiian culture, and the impact that hula would have if it was directed towards worship of the Lord, and sharing the Word with others. Hula is the heart language of the people, it would have gone a long way for them to know God's love conveyed to them in this way. The above video is of "Shout to The Lord" in Hawaiian, with a dance. If you can't see it on my blog, you can go here.
In the above clip, women from Grace Church in Maui danced to My Redeemer Lives in Lahaina in order to proclaim the Gospel. They are also using sign language. You can go here to see it.